Critical conservation needs are one step closer to being met
WASHINGTON, December 14, 2007 – The United States Senate has passed the 2007 Farm Bill. DU supporters were instrumental in shaping the Senate’s version of the farm bill.
“We congratulate the Senate, specifically Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Chambliss on passing the farm bill. This moves America’s farmers one step closer to having the much needed tools to farm the best and conserve the rest,” Ducks Unlimited’s Director of the Governmental Affairs Office Scott Sutherland said. “Ducks Unlimited appreciates the attention the Senate paid to conservation.”
The farm bill has shaped more conservation, and put more funding on the ground than any other suite of legislation. America’s farmers, ranchers, and sportsmen have been reaping a harvest that provides value well beyond the traditional crops. DU is pleased to be part of the shaping of the bill to ensure the continuation of these vital programs.
As DU continues to delve into the details of amendments added on the Senate floor, a few initial points critical to wildlife are worth highlighting:
• Wetlands Reserve Program: The Senate passed bill reauthorizes the program. Also, a land appraisal issue that recently discouraged many landowners from participating in the program would be improved.
• Sodsaver: Provision added which would build on the House passed bill providing even stronger protection for the last native prairie remaining in America critical to waterfowl breeding.
• Conservation Reserve Program: The program will continue to protect 39.2 million acres.
• Biomass Crop Transition Program: Senate established this new program with safeguards in place for grasslands.
• Open Fields: Senate established a new grant program to encourage landowners to provide public hunting and fishing access on their conservation lands.
• Grasslands Reserve Program: The Senate reauthorizes program. grasslands for waterfowl breeding habitat.
• Prairie Pothole Region: Establishment of the region as a nationally recognized priority area.
“Many positive things for conservation were included in the bill because DU members contacted their Senators,” Ducks Unlimited’s Director of Agriculture Conservation Policy Barton James said. “Amendments that could have hurt conservation were pulled back without being offered, and some really important tweaks have been made.”
A conference committee is expected to begin to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the farm bill early next year. DU looks forward to working with the conferees to guarantee the final passage of the bill is as strong as possible for waterfowl and landowners. DU will keep supporters abreast of the developments during this process and work with them to ensure their voice is heard.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.
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